Riverside County Case Alert – July 9

July 2-9, 2021
🔑 Key Cases

1. 4/2 –Third-striker not eligible for Pen. Code, § 1170.91 resentencing

2. 1/2 – Questioning of juvenile at his residence was custodial interrogation

3. 2/2 – Not True special circumstance finding entitled defendant to relief under Pen. Code, § 1170.95 as a matter of law

+ 1 Additional Case Summaries

1. P. v. Stewart (4/2, E074907, Riverside) Veteran sentenced as third-striker was not eligible for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.91 even though otherwise eligible. Romero motion not an option upon resentencing because resentencing under 1170.91 concerns permits new selection within triad not whether to impose strike. Also, defendant was previously denied Prop. 36 resentencing under section 1170.126 as trial court determined he intended to inflict GBI, and section 1170.91 doesn’t override the 1170.126 process to permit a reduction upon seeking 1170.91 resentencing.

2. In re Matthew W. (1st Dist., Div. 2, A159931, Napa) Questioning of a 17-year old juvenile was custodial interrogation, even though conducted at the juvenile’s residence, where five officers came to the residence, the juvenile was searched before questioning, in addition to the lead officer conducting the questioning two additional officers were nearby, the lead officer denied the mother of the juvenile’s request to be present for the questioning though she remained elsewhere in the residence, and the juvenile was arrested upon conclusion of questioning. Admission of statements made during questioning even though no Miranda advisement was given was prejudicial because the jurisdictional decision was based on evaluating the credibility of multiple witnesses with inconsistent versions and the absence of certain facts from the juvenile’s statement during questioning was a large—but not exclusive—part in determining the juvenile lacked credibility.

3. P. v. Clayton (2nd Dist., Div. 2, B308524, Los Angeles) Unanimous Not True finding on felony murder special circumstance allegation by jury “establishes the petitioner’s entitlement to relief under section 1170.95 as a matter of law” and triggers the superior court’s duty in response to a petition under section 1170.95 to vacate the conviction and resentence under subdivision (d)(2). Dissenting opinion agrees with AG that OSC hearing should occur as a “not true” finding does not prove as a matter of law that the defendants did not act as major participants or with reckless indifference: it only shows reasonable doubt existed and is not a prior finding that a petitioner “did not act with reckless indifference to human life or was not a major participant in the felony.”

Other Case Summaries

P. v. Dominguez (4th Dist., Div. 1, D076896, San Diego) In an appropriate context, gang “where you from” challenge may require voluntary manslaughter heat of passion instruction as to murder count where recipients of challenge respond with gunfire. Here, the challenge was issued in the context of a gang that had previously had its recruitment offer rejected by the defendants, a tagging crew, which marked the defendants as targets for harm. Also, instructional error under the former version of CALCRIM No. 600, but substantial evidence supports kill zone theory so retrial is permitted on attempted murder counts.